Crushes

Crushes. Don’t you just hate ’em? I’d think that by the age of 34, I’d be immune to this kind of thing, but I’m not. And this annoys me no end.

I define a crush not as something particularly obsessive, nor even particularly sexual. As a matter of fact, the whole concept seems a little cloyingly sweet for a jaded old cynic like myself. I don’t really want to jump the guy’s bones…it’s more of a desire to curl up and have long conversations. Maybe with a realtively laid back dog at the foot of the bed or something. He’s just a neat guy that I like talking to and would love to spend a lot more time with.

Gag…wretch…puke…

Another Year Older

Thanks to all who sent birthday greetings. Best gifts so far came from Mom and Dad, who (among other things) sent me a Matchbox Brady Bunch station wagon and a copy of “Jungle Book” (the animated one, thank you…) I love that I have parents who are cool enough to send me toys and cartoons for my birthday. They KNOW that I love toys and cartoons. They aren’t SCARED that I love toys and cartoons. I love my Mom and Dad. Of course, I’d probably still be pretty fond of them even if they didn’t send me toys and cartoons…

Other than the above, the birthday was pretty uneventful. I had pizza with my roomie and a friend, and then we went to Baskin Robbins. And then I cleaned the commode ‘cuz it smelled kinda funky. Definitely a low-impact day compared with some past birthdays

Changes Afoot

So then there are those mornings when you find yourself awake at an ungodly hour completely unable to sleep because so many unsettling thoughts keep getting lodged in your brain. This kind of insomnia must be a lot like a psychological equivalent of AIDS. One big anxiety compromises your faculties such that a multitude of smaller opportunistic anxieties intrude. The net result is no sleep. It’s been happening a lot the past week or so.

I guess the “big anxiety” stems from the fact that my roomie of six years is getting pretty damned close to buying a house. This, in itself, is a good thing. I’m happy for him, although I’m still not convinced of the wisdom of buying property at the peak of the most inflated real estate market in Bay Area history.

I feel really guilty that I can’t bring myself to act enthusiastic when he talks about it, but the whole thing is causing a tremendous surge of uncertainty in my life. The most obvious problem is the necessity of finding a new roommate, not an easy task given my general lack of sociability. At this point, I’ll consider taking speculative applications

There are financial pressures as well, coming at a time when I’m living quite adequately but have no savings to speak of. I’ll have to come up with the deposit which I never paid upon moving into this place. Utilities will have to be transferred into my name.

And of course there remains the big question of whether I’m still under rent control when he moves out. The prospect of paying current market rent on a two-bedroom apartment South of Market (or anywhere in San Francisco) is not pretty. In fact, it’s down right terrifying. I’d even consider it an impossibility, more or less.

So then the little anxieties surface. Is it really worth it to continue living here? Should I look on this as a sign that it’s time to get the hell out of this increasingly expensive, rapidly gentrifying city? And if the answer is yes, where exactly should I go and what the hell should I do when I get there? What exactly am I doing with my life anyway?

Oops…maybe that’s the REAL “big anxiety”. It does, after all, come down to that “what do I want to be when I grow up” thing, doesn’t it? Admittedly, it’s hard to address that particular issue with so other more pressing crises piled up in front of me. But, of course, that’s pretty much the same excuse I’ve been using for almost 34 years now…

It’s after 4:00 now. Maybe I should consider trying to go back to sleep or something. Whatever’s coming up can’t harm me while I’m sleeping. If only I WERE sleeping…

On Being a Hermit

I’m not sure at exactly what point that I decided that being a hermit was not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve never made friends really easily, although I have made some very good and close friends over the years. I’ve just never been tremendously social; sometimes it just seems much more of a burden than it’s worth.

I was definitely well-trained for hermitdom (is that a word?) as a child. I didn’t have many friends and I learned early on how to spend time alone, whether I was watching TV, or drawing pictures of buildings and designing houses and stores and making maps of imaginary cities, or reading. It very often bothered me to be disturbed by the reality of having to talk to people and especially to have to explain what I was drawing or reading or watching. All the same, I felt lonely a lot of the time, although I wasn’t bothered enough to do anything much about it.

I guess I learned a few social skills by the time I hit high school. When I entered college and found myself thrust into an environment of people I actually liked and with whom I had things in common, I bloomed into something of a social butterfly. I even got so “social” at one point that I stopped going to class and suddenly found that I can’t even in college anymore. But even then I still spent a good deal of time alone, sometimes by choice and sometimes not.

The real test came the first time I moved away from my hometown. I learned a lot about spending time alone then, even though I really tried to meet people. I still believed at that point that there was something inherently wrong with being alone, especially in places like bars, restaurants, and movie theatres. Apparently, the social skills I’d acquired in college weren’t serving me too well without my support group. I was depressed. But I was also learning a lot about myself. All in all, it doesn’t seem so bad in retrospect.

I did finally meet a whole new circle of friends, even in “soulless” Charlotte. These were some of the most bizarre friends of my entire life, making some of my unusual San Francisco acquaintances seem positively boring in comparison. I’m still in touch with some of the saner members of this crowd.

My first few years in San Francisco were an intense “social” period for me. I surprised myself with my capacity for meeting interesting people. And for picking up fun sex toys in bars and sex clubs. Funny thing was, though, that most of the people I met faded away pretty quickly. Except for my roomie of almost six years, I don’t much talk to (or even see) most of my crowd from the first years I spent here.

There also never seemed to be that one really close friend that I called every day, had dinner with on a regular basis, went to movies with, etc. This was really odd for me, as I’d usually had a friend like that even in my bleakest periods.

All the same, it seems I was always running around doing SOMETHING those first few years here: going to parties, hanging around in the Mission or Lower Haight or (gasp) even the Castro. I had a boyfriend for a relatively long period of time. After I finished with him, I had several “fuck buddies” I played around with between one-night stands. I hit a point where it was hard for me to go anywhere without running into someone I knew, which always seemed to me something that wasn’t supposed to happen in “the big city”.

It was at this point when I started doing Planet SOMA. Things have been going downhill ever since. I don’t think it has anything really to do with the web site, although email has made it easier for me to avoid face to face contact. I’m actually spending less time in front of the computer lately.

But I’ve noticed that it’s increasingly rare that I actually leave the house and do things. When I bother to go out drinking at all, it’s pretty much ALWAYS in the neighborhood. I’m not exploring the rest of the city anymore. It’s rare that I see people I know when I go out. I haven’t picked up anyone in months. I used to cover a lot of ground and see a lot of people and places. Now I read a lot of books. I watch too many “Star Trek” reruns.

Many people have given up on me. I almost never have phone messages, probably because I’m so bad about calling back and arranging meetings. I’m hesitant about making social commitments. For a couple of weeks earlier this year, I rarely left the house at all other than to go to work or Safeway. Thanks to my friend Sarah, I do drag myself out on the occasional Saturday afternoon bookstore/thrift store/burger excursion.

So what’s the story here? Am I just getting old? Are the habits learned in childhood coming back to take over my life? Have I just become a bitter old curmudgeon who is too impatient with the world which surrounds me to be an active participant therein? Or is it just a phase?

I’m not really moping or depressed or anything like that. I just don’t seem to have the energy or the inclination to DO much lately. Should I be worried about this or should I just bask in the joys of being a hermit? I’m not really sure.

Randomly Thursday

Random notes:

  • Never realized before that a lot of episodes of “Bewitched” from the final season (1972) were almost verbatim remakes of episodes from the first season (1964). Were they just out of ideas? Or did they figure the old black and white shows would never be shown again? Strange, but kudos to the fine folks at Nick at Nite for helpng to point this out…
  • Why is it that spring cleaning at work is so much faster than spring cleaning at home? It just seems so much easier to throw away old stuff that doesn’t really belong to you…
  • At the ripe old age of 33, I’ve finally realized that people sleep much better if they don’t keep drinking Coke until 15 minutes before bedtime. Brain surgery is next for me, no doubt…
  • Overly-senistive department: an Oakland man has claimed harrasment due to his arresting officer singing “The Pina Collada Song” while he was in custody. He claims racism. I’ll admit it’s bland, stupid, and repetitive, but racist???
  • Miracle: for three straight days, I’ve managed to answer all my email within 24 hours. And get one spamming website shut down in the process…
  • Isn’t porn just more fun if no one’s home and you can turn up the volume and hear every “you like my big cock dontcha” in stereo sound?
  • Isn’t cereal much less fun when you realize (after you start pouring) that you’re just about out of milk? Oops…make that completely out…
  • Amusing Wednesdays at McDonald’s: hamburgers are 29¢. Fries are $1.50. Cokes are $1.25. All hail the triumph of the side dish…
  • The SF Bay Guardian is crying “censorship” over some ads removed from SF Muni buses last month. The ads feature the Guardian’s editor and a caption stating “They’re all crooks in City Hall and I want them exposed.” I’d almost be tempted to suggest the removal of the ads constituted proof of this fact, or at least of the fact that City Hall has no sense of humor…
  • Joke courtesy of Larry-bob: What do you call two men holding hands in the Castro? Tourists.
  • When you call tech support, how does that recorded voice arrive at such estimates as “your call will be answered in one hour and twenty-three minutes”? (Yes…this was an actual call and an actual estimate…)
  • Is anyone as pissed off as I am that Pacific Bell has added the option of three-way calling to all phone lines at a per-use fee of 75¢? And that it’s VERY easy to invoke this feature accidentally, say with modem auto-redials, beacuse you don’t have to dial a special tone? If you’re not amused either, call them (1-800-310-BELL) and have it removed from your line. And tell them why you’re doing it and how tempting it will be to use another local service provider when that option becomes available soon…

St. Valentine’s Lament

Well…

It was Valentine’s Day yesterday and it’s over and I’m glad ‘cuz Valentine’s Day sucks and it signifies no more or less romance in my life than before and the only present I got was from my mom and dad and the biggest theme of my night was perpetually running into an ex that I don’t really want to speak to much anymore and…

Take a breath…

All in all, I guess it wasn’t a bad day. I had a good lunch at a neo-dive called “Redneck Earl’s” in San Mateo. I caught a few minutes of a really good A&E documentary on the Titanic. The rain made for a very nice long sleep last night. I got lots of free beers and shots tonight.

Holeinthewallapalooza at the Eagle tonight was great. Imagine: actual queer rock and roll bands playing in an actual queer bar. I imagine several slumming Castroids probably left without entering, fearing that the Eagle had finally “gone straight”. Rock bands in a queer bar? Couldn’t be…

And there was the cute geeky boy on speed, who wanted to suck my dick “just for a minute”. There’s an ego-booster. I wasn’t his “type”, he said, but he really liked the head of my dick. Swoon… Who could ask for more?

OK, so maybe I’m asking for more.

Maybe it would have been nice to have someone bring me a rose, although I doubt it since the very concept makes me want to puke. Maybe it would have been nice for there to have been something more entertaining on my agenda than watching “Dragnet” reruns. On the other hand, maybe I would have been happier if I HAD stayed home watching “Dragnet” reruns.

Despite all the rhetoric for which I am known, maybe it would be nice to be curled up next to someone I actually like right now. I guess that would be a pretty tall order since I like very few people that I meet, and since the ones I really like are often not at all interested in curling up for a long period of time (if at all).

This begs the question of whether my standards are too high and whether disliking a large part of the population is necessarily a good thing. It’s difficult, you know, realizing that most people really annoy me. It’s uncomfortable to admit that I’m not a “people person” when I’ve really tried to think of myself as one. It’s hard to acknowledge that I’m very often not a huge fan of humanity in general.

Retarded social skills? Perhaps. Low self-image? Maybe. Going to the wrong places? Good thought. Who wants to hang out with someone so damned ornery and negative and cantankerous and anti-social anyway? Or maybe everyone IS really annoying and I’m just better than all of them. This, of course, is the most comfortable way of thinking, but it’s pretty danged hard to defend.

Anyhow, a happy President’s Day to you all.

Extended Family

It was not until I was in college that I really started to realize that there were people other than my family who I still wanted to see over Christmas. Maybe this was because for the first time I knew people whose primary residence was not Greensboro, North Carolina. When my friends went home for Christmas, I felt a little lost.

Those of us who stayed in Greensboro for the break (I did so because I lived there), we’d compensate by doing things like opening the campus radio station for the day, and making road trips to see the people we missed.

When I moved to Charlotte, going home for the holidays was an easy day trip. I could be in and out in 36 hours or less. More time was not really required because I was able to come home once a month or so.

Then came the move to San Francisco. I spent my first four Christmases on the west coast, due to the logistics and economics of the trip. I visited at other times, but never made the holiday trek. And I was never really bothered by this, although I’m sure my parents were disappointed.

Here, I had my friends and my bars and my alleys. I was never alone for the holidays except once in 1994, after I’d just broken up with my longest-term boyfriend.

Last year, though, having just become unemployed by choice, I made the trip home on Christmas Eve. The plane was crowded, every passenger looked as if they were going off to war, and the movie sucked. Once I got home, it was a nice visit and all, but I’d just as soon have made it at a less insane time of year.

So it looks like I’ll be going home again this year, thanks to a family friend who works for USAir. I’ll fight my way onto a crowded plane at an unusual time of day, since we “freebie travelers” have to take what we can get, spacewise. I’ll arrive in the cold of North Carolina, be glad to see my parents and friends, eat lots of food, gain still more gut, and have a thoroughly nice time.

But I’d still just as soon do it some other time of year.

Frustrated

I think my recent rants about SF may have given the impression that I don’t like it here very much anymore. I may even have said as much somewhere; I can’t recall. I’m now serving notice that it ain’t true. I still love the city, despite all its faults. I will say that I’m concerned about the direction it seems headed in, and that I’m just not sure I like the company it’s keeping lately. I will also admit I am considering leaving Sodom-by-the -Bay for a number of reasons, only some of them related to the city itself.

But I still have an unbelievable love for this place. I care what happens here. Enough so, I might add, that I feel the need to criticize things which are just plain wrong. Maybe my romantic love has turned into a parental sort of love. That said, I will add that I’m trying to look at things with a more balanced eye and to start once again occasionally observing some of the things which I love.

I couldn’t find my wallet for a few minutes yesterday. The frustration almost moved me to tears. Tonight I was cleaning up my room. My impatience with the never-ending pile of stuff actually DID move me to tears. I sat on my bed, looking at piles of paper and dirty clothes and started sobbing. I put my head in my hands and began bawling. It was scary…

So what the fuck is going on here? Dirty clothes don’t usually affect me this way. I’m not the type who spontaneously combusts at the slightest provocation. This is not normal behavior.

What thoughts ran through my head? Well, mostly I kept pondering the fact that I’m a 33 year old chain smoker with a beer gut, living in a tiny little apartment about two steps up from squalor, working part-time at a job I could do in my sleep, and suddenly realizing that at this “ripe old age”, I have absolutely no more idea what I’m going to do with my life than I did when I was ten.

It was not a particularly pleasant state of mind.

Being an aimless slacker may be cute when you’re 25. Jeez, an entire media culture and demographic profile has developed around it. But when you’re reaching your mid 30’s, it becomes damn near pathetic. And scary as hell.

I’ve been in a rotten mood all weekend, Maybe it’ll get better tomorrow. Right now, though, I keep looking around this dark, microscopic little apartment and I think I’m gonna scream. Of course moving out of the apartment would mean moving out of SF, since the only way I can even afford the current hovel is through rent control. I’ve been living here five years and the place has never seemed quite so unpleasant before.

But tonight, as I tried to sort through and rearrange all the physical shit, I kept conjuring up assorted emotional shit at the same time, and the two shits combined were overwhelming. Maybe a little Pepto Bismol…

And I can’t seem to focus on anything lately. Right now, I’m in the process of reading four different books. I’m working on three different big projects for Planet SOMA. I can’t seem to commit completely to any of them, so all the projects and the books (and the email) are just sitting around in various states of completion, waiting patiently for me to give any of them a respectable amount of time.

I won’t even discuss the fact that I almost have to force myself to leave the house lately. Or that I seem to be screamingly impatient with everyone and everything when I do. Or especially the fact that I didn’t even watch “The Simpsons” tonight. If I did that, someone (like me) might get the notion that I’m depressed. Couldn’t have that…

So before I get even whinier, I think I’ll just go to bed. At least I’ve managed to remove all the dirty clothes that were covering it.

A Codger at 33

In another month, I’ll be 33 years old. This fact doesn’t bother me very much. What bothers me is the behaviors I’m starting to notice — behaviors which I’m not sure are attributable to age, mood, unemployment, or just the phases of the moon.

To begin with, I find it damn near impossible to consume large quantities of alcohol anymore. Actually, I’m pretty happy about this. I can’t remember the last time I got really drunk (no word play intended) or the last time I had a really nasty hangover. I worried about this a bit as I became unemployed. It’s such a cliche after all — the unemployed lush, etc. Actually, I find myself drinking less and less as my unemployment grows longer and longer.

I seem quite content with my computer, a book, and a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles. I do seem to be developing a bit of a nesting urge, though. I don’t really want a boyfriend particularly, although if the right prospect came along I’d consider the idea. I have, however, developed a strange urge to get a dog. Go figure…

My hormones still rage, I guess, as my masturbatory frequency remains undiminished (enhanced, even…) It just seems so much easier to have a nice wank at bedtime than to hit the streets looking for a willing participant. And when I do hit the streets, I see fewer and fewer prospects who (a) interest me or (b) are interested. Maybe I’ve raised my standards. Or maybe I’m just getting lazier. Who knows?

Maybe it’s related to the matter of my patience level. Or lack thereof. If the perfect person doesn’t show up ready to leave with me within five minutes of my appearance at whatever venue, I’ve had it and I’m ready to go.

But it’s not just “the hunt”. I’m becoming impatient with EVERYONE and EVERYTHING. My throat is raw from screaming every time I drive lately. Then again, everyone in SF seems to be having this problem; too many newcomers in Volvos I guess. Email spam drives me nuts. Waiting for Netscape or IE to do ANYTHING makes me crazy. The never-ending pledge breaks on KQED are giving me fits; I’d rather have commercials. And don’t get me started on the few minutes of the Pride Parade I watched on TV while cleaning the toilet in my rainbow T-shirt and pink triangle jockstrap.

So what say? Old age? Summertime blues? Unemployment ennui? Clinical depression? Any suggestions? I think I’m too young to be a curmudgeon, although it’s something I’ve always aspired toward…